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According to a press conference held by PAGASA last August 24, 2016, La Niña is expected to develop with a probability of 55 to 60%. According to Analiza Solis of PAGASA’s Climate Monitoring and Prediction, the phenomenon, which will be likely weak and short-lived, may occur in either in late September or October this year.
Understanding La Niña
La Niña, which literally means “the girl” in Spanish is characterized by unusually cooler than normal sea surface temperatures in the Central and Eastern Equatorial Pacific.
If and when La Niña comes, more rainfall is expected over the eastern side of the country, considering that the projected cyclone tracks move close to the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) during this period. About 5 to 9 cyclones are expected to enter the PAR from September to February 2017. `
Impacts of La Niña
Back in 2005 to 2006, areas in Calapan in Oriental Mindoro, Camarines Sur, Quezon, Iloilo and Palawan experienced severe floods, while landslides were triggered in Isabela. Such incidents occurred while the northeast monsoon prevailed with Tropical Depression “Agaton” hitting Visayas and Mindanao.
This also coincided with a weak La Niña.
The weather bureau has already given precautions to the public to stay alert and to keep monitoring the development of La Niña. Also, all concerned agencies are advised to take precautionary measures to mitigate the potential impacts of the looming La Niña.
Global Watch on La Niña
There are also impacts of La Niña worldwide.
La Niña typically contributes to more hurricanes in the Atlantic. Last month, Hurricane Gaston hit the mid-Atlantic, while in Norway, more than 300 wild reindeer were killed by a lightning strike at the national park.
In Asia, Indonesia is experiencing La Niña until September. Last July, over 50,000 people were affected due to floods when a river overflowed in East Java. There were also four people reported dead in North Sulawesi due to landslides. The only good thing about La Niña is that it will keep forest fires from spreading.
Meanwhile, in South Africa where there is no assurance of a La Niña, residents are hoping for rain. According to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology and the UN weather agency, if ever La Niña does occur in South Africa, it will be a weak one. This year, the country recorded its lowest rainfall since 1904. If another dry spell hits the country this summer, its agricultural production would greatly suffer. South Africa only managed to produce 7.2 million tons of maize, down 28% from last year’s 9 million tons.